Innovation in Action: Educator Innovation Fund

We are only a few months into the school year, and educators are already busy successfully launching projects on DonorsChoose. Supported by the RISE Educator Innovation Fund, these projects aim to enhance teaching and learning by ensuring that educators and students have the resources they need to be successful. Check out the projects below launched by Ms. Llamas and Mrs. Leone!

Project: We Have a Voice, All We Need is a Mic!

Educator: Flora Llamas, English Teacher at Westhill High School in Stamford, CT

Materials Needed: A microphone

Inspiration: As a daily podcast listener, Llamas realized that she could design a group project for her students that involved podcasting. During the 2017-2018 school year, her students participated in a podcast project on To Kill a Mockingbird using a limited amount of borrowed equipment. Mrs. Llamas says, “I decided that this year I would create a project on DonorsChoose and order microphones that would be easy enough for my students to use and that ultimately enhanced the quality of their audio.”

Impact: “In the past I’ve had a lot of success with podcast projects. These types of projects encourage students to share their ideas in a creative way without the stress of presenting in front of the class. This year, students will not only use their microphones to create a podcast, but also to conduct a Public Service Announcement, short interviews and videos. Their first project will be to create movie trailers based on the stories they read for their independent reading assignment. They will begin recording next week. They are excited to use their new microphones.”

Project: Shooting for a 5

Educator: Stacy Leone, Biology Teacher at East Hartford High School in East Hartford, CT

Materials Needed: A class set of test prep books for the AP Biology Exam

Inspiration: Ms. Leone says, “One of the things that students struggle with the most is making the leap from attaining the knowledge to applying it. These review books are filled with questions, divided by content, that will allow the students to focus their efforts on the areas that they need the most help with. Since many of my students come from low-income backgrounds, I know that they may not have access to resources such as the study book on their own. I really wanted to level the playing field and give them the same advantages as their peers who have access to these types of resources.”

Impact: “The students were so excited to get these books! It is not often that they get a new book that is all their own to keep and write in. They have been using the books to help them review content and prepare for unit tests in class. It is too early to say with certainty whether the books have led to an improvement in achievement, however, I know the students are using them, and any time they spend reviewing and practicing is preparing them for the AP exam!”